Drawing on de Coubertin’s Olympism philosophy in the Secondary School Rugby Experience
The literature indicates that the values of, and justification for, rugby participation in Japan and New Zealand share many similarities including the development of young males’ character (Abe, 2008; Phillips, 1996). Importantly to the pursuit of Olympism studies, such development resonates with de Coubertin’s intentions for sport participation in young males (Müller, 2000). The current article presents hermeneutic interpretations of texts (conversations) held with Japanese and New Zealand secondary school rugby coaches. Findings reveal the ways Japanese coaches sought to enhance various qualities in their players as they spoke explicitly about developing traits beyond the physical domain. The idea of ningen keisei (人間形成; character development or human cultivation) emerged as the premise of their aims. Conversely, New Zealand coaches indicated that they put emphasis on technical skills, and despite equal opportunity, did not articulate any intention to develop their athletes beyond the physical domain. Although a complete paucity of underlying philosophies regarding character development in New Zealand secondary school rugby coaching practices is not being suggested here, the findings could signal an important consideration for future directions of school-based rugby participation.